Regional Development Officer
New Appointment of Steve Aisthorpe as Regional Development Officer
A HIGHLY experienced former mountaineering instructor is now attempting to scale new heights as he seeks to promote the Church of Scotlandís role in the North Highlands and Western Isles.
The Regional Development Officer for the Presbyteries of Inverness, Ross, Sutherland, Caithness, Lewis, The Uists, Lochcarron and Skye and Lochaber is based here in Inverness, this post, currently vacant, comes under the Council of Mission and Discipleship whose remit for the church is:
In the past Regional Development Officer has been involved in a servicing role to both presbyteries and congregations which has enabled him to assist congregations who are seeking renewal and development with mission as their driving force. This role also allows the Development Officer to offer additional training courses and resources to both presbyteries and congregations. Possible further development of seminars may take place in the following areas:
The Regional Develpment Officer can be contacted at Mission & Discipleship Highland Office, Mission Hall, Main Street, North Kessock, IV1 3XN : Telephone number 01463 731712 - email address:
Direct Access Accomodation
The Direct Access Accommodation Project is run by The Church of Scotland Presbytery of Inverness and the Inverness Churches' Group on Homelessness, in partnership with the Highland Homeless Trust and Blythswood Care. It is designed to meet the immediate crisis needs of vulnerable individuals who would otherwise be sleeping rough, and this year runs from 5th November until 31st March 2013. To make a referral, telephone:- (During Office Hours) 01463 718693 (Out of Office Hours/During the Night): 01463 233773, 07850 527 517 or 07850 527 522.
This is the third consecutive year that we have run a Winter Care Shelter for homeless men & women sleeping rough in Inverness, although we now call it Direct Access Accommodation. Detailed below is a report on the first month:-
Between the 5th and 21st November, 8 referrals for assistance for 6 males and 2 females were received from the Citizens Advice Bureau (1); Highland Council (3); and Street Pastors (4). Paths of referral have also been set up with NHS Highland.
Highland Homeless Trust staff worked hard to find the best outcome for these folks. One lady could not be accommodated in the DAA because she was assessed as presenting a significant unmanageable risk to the general public, staff and residents in the hostel. HHT staff liaised with NHS staff to ensure she would not be sleeping rough.
HHT staff were able to assist the other lady to return to her accommodation in Inverness so she didn't need to stay in the DAA.
An older gentleman had been referred by the CAB after being served with an eviction notice by Highland Council. HHT were able to work with the CAB to avoid the eviction, enabling him to go home.
Another man was referred by Highland Council after he was found sleeping rough in Nairn. But then he went missing. HHT have let the Council and the CAB know the situation, and if the gentleman reappears he can have accommodation in the DAA.
Highland Council also referred a man on his release from prison in Inverness. He was accommodated in the DAA until such time as Highland Council was able to meet his accommodation needs.
The third referral from Highland Council was a man they had refused accommodation. He stayed at the DAA until he could be found private sector rented accommodation. And finally, Street Pastors referred two men who were stranded in Inverness. Both were able to stay in the DAA until they were able to make arrangements to complete their journey home.
We are also grateful to Mrs Margaret Ross of the Salvation Army who conducted Food Hygiene Training for the volunteers from local Churches and community groups, as well as individuals free of charge, as the Salvation Army's gift to the project - and to Lt Andrina Downie, who let us use the Salvation Army Halls for the training. Mrs Issy Freudenthal is liaising with the catering teams to provide ten x two course meals for the freezer in the hostel on a rota basis.
This is a valuable lifeline service without which people in crisis situations would find themselves sleeping rough.
We are very grateful to the following funding providers, without whom it would not be possible to run this service...the Baird Trust £5,000, The Crerar Hotels Trust £5,000 and The Ferguson Trust £2,000.The Baird and Crerar Charitable Trusts have supported us for each of the past three years, and this is a first for The Ferguson Fund. Since it seems that the Highland Council is unwilling to support us though the Common Good Fund despite 64% of the referrals emanating from their Housing Dept, these Trusts are absolutely invaluable.